Why Trump Must Never Stop Talking about the Russia Hoax

Rich Lowry has written a pre-postmortem of the 2020 election in which he argues that, should President Trump lose next month, "the story isn't going to be what was done to him, rather what he did to himself."  Lowry contends that Trump routinely frames the election in dire, apocalyptic terms but then focuses so much of his messaging on personal vendettas that he is ultimately "letting his side down."  

By his own admission, Lowry acknowledges that asking the president to "modulate" his behavior four years into office is "naive," and he is instead interested in defending NeverTrump Republicans from any possible recriminations should Joe Biden and the Democrats succeed.  In what sounds like a historical allusion to the feelings of betrayal from German soldiers after WWI exploited by an incipient Nazi Party against German leadership, Lowry makes one point quite clear: a Trump loss will be his own doing, not the result of his having been "stabbed in the back" by establishment Republicans.

"Victory is claimed by all, failure to one alone," Tacitus observed two millennia ago.  Only in the Trump Era, though, do establishment figures run from the prospect of victory just as heartily as they do from the stench of defeat.  For Middle Americans who support the president, there is no doubt that a Biden victory will be recast as an indictment of President Trump's leadership of the Republican Party and an urgent call to hand the reins of the party back to such NeverTrump stalwarts as Bill Kristol, Steve Schmidt, and Michael Steele.  Should President Trump once again prevail, his critics will minimize the result as due to his weak and ineffective opponent.  In other words, the president's detractors have learned nothing since 2016.  

Lowry argues that it is foolish and vain for President Trump to waste campaign time discussing "dubious investigatory decisions" in the Russian collusion hoax used against him when he should be concentrating on his successes for the American economy and the immediate harm a Biden presidency would pose.  

There is no doubt that Trump's deregulation and pro-growth market policies have bolstered and will continue to bolster Americans' pocketbooks and future security, but asking the president to disregard the single most important news story of the last four years ignores how Trump voters feel about the Russia hoax.  

Barack Obama's and Hillary Clinton's apparent use of the CIA and FBI to frame President Trump as a Russian agent reveals such corruption and treachery at the highest levels of government that no past political scandal compares.  

What is worse, supporters of the president have been attacked for four years as delusional for correctly believing that everything from the Steele Dossier to Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation was the product of a political hit job and setup.  Many Americans have been forced to watch a slow-moving coup against the president of the United States, while being told over and over again by nefarious government actors and a complicit press that President Trump is the real villain.

Never have Americans been victimized by gaslighting on such a grand scale, and to downplay the psychological toll that has had on voters outside of the Beltway is to ignore the irreparable damage caused by parties who have, as yet, have been neither fully named nor punished.  From the perspective of normal, everyday Americans in the Midwest, members of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches of the federal government conspired to remove a legitimately elected president without so much as an apology and now want to sweep everything under the rug, lest those same federal institutions actually suffer for the crimes they have aided and abetted. 

Americans are confronting the 2020 election, but for Trump voters, the 2016 election was never properly concluded.  For President Trump to campaign today without acknowledging the historic betrayals over the past few years by people vested with great powers who chose to undermine voters and sabotage the peaceful transfer of power in America would be like Dwight D. Eisenhower running for the presidency without mentioning his success against the forces of tyranny the decade before.  An important and compelling part of the president's re-election story is that so many forces in Washington, D.C. have conspired to take him down, yet he is still standing.  

Furthermore, the Russia hoax is irrefutable evidence for why, as Lowry rightly notes, "[t]he stakes are undoubtedly huge."  There is a reason President Trump has framed this contest as a choice between the "American dream" and "socialist chaos."  When corrupt prosecutors and other government actors contort the criminal justice system to advance "social justice" goals or persecute personal enemies while disregarding the constitutional rights and legal protections afforded to Americans, then outrageous abuses of government arise.  

What Democrats and their sympathizers in the federal government seemingly accomplished in devising a Russia hoax to take down the president, they did while largely out of power.  Now those same Democrats seek not only absolute control of the federal government, but also the chance to expand both the size of the Supreme Court and the size of our Union, adding Democrat justices and senators who may well make it impossible for America to retreat from Green New Deal socialism once the damage is done.  By highlighting the scale of the offensive waged against him these past four years, President Trump highlights the scale of the socialist offensive Democrats plan against all Americans should the Democrats take power next year.   

Lowry understands that "this is the most important election of our lifetimes," but after four years, he still fails to understand why voters elected Donald Trump in the first place.  Trump's candidacy resonated with a large number of Americans whose voices had been roundly dismissed for decades.  A one-two punch of gutting American manufacturing and crushing American wages through illegal immigration went entirely ignored in Washington.  Donald Trump went to bat for these Americans.  Instead of recognizing his victory as proof of the tectonic shift in American electoral politics that it was, Democrats and too many establishment Republicans set to work nullifying his election.  Those issues have not gone away in 2020, but an even larger issue has emerged: Washington's silencing of voters with whom it disagrees.  This reality is reflected in President Trump's refusal to bury the hatchet when it comes to the Russia hoax inquisition because the relentless efforts to silence him mirror those against his voters.  

The president is fond of telling crowds, "They're coming after me because I'm fighting for you."  Nowhere is that more clear than in the details of the Russia hoax, and for that reason, it is an indispensable part of his re-election story. 

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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